Dr. Craig Sweet, Medical Director of Embryo Donation International, P.L. (dreamababy.com
), presented a two-year research study examining cryopreserved human embryo abandonment to the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah. The largest study of its kind, Dr. Sweet and his colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of 182 cases from his private reproductive endocrine practice. They found 24% (44/182) of the patients abandoned their frozen embryos. “Essentially all clinics have to deal with abandoned embryos,” explained Dr. Sweet. “This presents the clinics with medal, legal and ethical conundrums.”
The objective of the study was to try to identify patient characteristics that made embryo abandonment more likely to occur. The researchers found seven statistically significant predictors of embryo abandonment including the following:
- The number of children living at home
- The length of time the embryos were frozen
- An existing financial debt to the practice
- A lower education level
- Partial or complete IVF insurance coverage
- A primary diagnosis of female pelvic damage or endometriosis
- A large number of embryos cryopreserved
“We hypothesized that if we could predict who was likely to abandon their embryos, perhaps we could intervene, educate and encourage patients to consider other disposition decisions rather than abandoning their embryos,” stated Dr. Sweet. He feels additional research is needed to confirm and perhaps expand upon these current findings.
The strengths of the study included the size, scope and level of detail examined. The statistical analysis strongly suggested the findings were real and not coincidental findings.
This research was completed in collaboration with three Florida universities with the following individuals:
- Galen Papkov, Ph.D., Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL
- Kate Wiedman-Klayum, M.D., Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Elizabeth Norton, B.S., University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
- Karrie Miles, B.S., Specialists In Reproductive Medicine & Surgery, P.A., Fort Myers, FL
“I tremendously appreciated my colleagues’ assistance in conducting this important research. It was truly a team effort,” reported Dr. Sweet.
EDI ASRM 2016Presentation (PDF 43.7KB)
Abstract Antecedents of Embryo Abandonment (PDF 31.8 KB)
Dr. Sweet Presentation on Embryo Abandonment (PDF 4.47MB)